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Aer Lingus dispute: Family ‘devastated’ after holiday canceled

Image source, Andres McKee

Screenshot, Lucy and Toby were excited about their big trip to Florida, their father Andrew said.

  • Author, Catherine Doyle
  • Role, BBC News NI

A father has spoken of his children’s disappointment after their “holiday of a lifetime” to Disney World was canceled due to the Aer Lingus pay dispute.

Aer Lingus has canceled at least 220 flights amid a planned strike by pilots.

The Irish Air Line Pilots Association (IALPA) has said an indefinite work period will begin on Wednesday with an eight-hour strike planned for Saturday.

This follows the conclusion of separate meetings on Tuesday attended by IALPA and Aer Lingus management.

Andrew McKee, from Bangor, County Down, was among a group of nine people who were due to leave on Wednesday for Orlando, Florida, but found out on Friday that the flights were cancelled.

“I have a five-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy and they were devastated every time I told them,” McKee said.

Image source, Andres McKee

Screenshot, Andrew McKee pictured with his children Lucy and Toby

Carpet ‘swept beneath us’

Mr McKee’s daughter Lucy cried when he told her the news.

“It’s something you really get to develop,” he said.

“They had a little countdown that we were doing, saying that we had slept so many times until we were leaving, and my son, he’s a little bit older so he kind of understands it, but at the same time he’s still a kid.”

His youngest son was particularly disappointed about missing the trip to Disneyland.

“Lucy was very excited to see Cinderella, Snow White and all the princesses.

“It’s magical and all of a sudden the rug was pulled out from under us.”

Aer Lingus offered Mr McKee the option of changing his flights or requesting a refund, but “the problem is it’s just the flight element,” Mr McKee said.

“There’s the park tickets, the accommodation, the car rental, you know everything else,” he added.

Image source, Press Association

Screenshot, Aer Lingus and the Irish Air Line Pilots Association will attend separate meetings on Tuesday in Dublin to discuss the pay dispute.

Mr McKee, his wife, two children, his mother and his sister’s family were supposed to fly from Dublin.

Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) Micheál Martin said both sides in the dispute were ignoring the public.

“They have planned this, they have saved for this – it is shocking that they are being ignored and, if you like, intentionally left out in this battle between Aer Lingus management and the unions,” Mr Martin said. saying.

The airline said it had sent a new invitation to IALPA for direct talks, but the union said it would not re-enter negotiations that came with preconditions around flexibility and productivity.

‘It’s hard’

McKee said he supports pilots striking, despite their plight.

“I think pilots have a very difficult job because they deserve to be paid well… but at the same time, it’s hard.”

“The only good thing is that we booked it as a package, so I guess our travel agent will take care of us.”

McKee and his family are now thinking about planning vacations for next year.

What do I do if my Aer Lingus flight is cancelled?

The airline has said that passengers with flights booked between June 26 and July 2 have several options available.

Each should be contacted by email or SMS, or through your travel agent.

For customers who have booked directly with Aer Lingus, there is the option to change flights online. The company said it will waive the fare difference or any change fees if rebooked for a later date.

There is also the option to request a full refund or a refund voucher, which can be redeemed within five years.

Aer Lingus said passengers who booked through a travel agent or third party should contact those companies directly.

“Unfortunately, Aer Lingus cannot directly assist in these cases,” Aer Lingus notes on its website.

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